Meadowdale Beach Park to be closed again starting April 11 for estuary restoration work

Crews preparing the park for a restart of construction April 11. (Photo by Sam Spencer)

Snohomish County’s Meadowdale Beach Park will be closed again to the public starting Monday, April 11 to allow for continued estuary restoration work.

The project will restore a historic 1.3-acre estuary to provide essential rearing habitat for chinook, chum and coho salmon as well as cutthroat trout. Puget Sound chinook salmon are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Construction work began on June 15, 2021, limiting access to the park. Beach access was temporarily reopened to the public in November 2021.

As we reported in our earlier story, the project will remove 128 linear feet of railroad embankment that serves as shoreline armoring and replace a 6-foot-wide culvert running under the BNSF railroad tracks to restore habitat for salmon that spawn in Lund’s Gulch Creek. Workers will install a five-span railroad bridge with a 100-foot opening to address ADA accessibility, beach access, fish passage, flooding, sediment delivery and various maintenance issues associated with the current undersized culvert.

It will also help re-establish nearshore processes considered key to the Puget Sound’s recovery. Additional habitat and stream enhancement will occur upstream of the estuary and a second footbridge will be installed to provide a platform for viewing fish migration.

According to the project website, the following activities were conducted in 2021: clearing and grubbing, demolition, tree salvage, road reinforcement, erosion and sediment control, excavation for pedestrian bridge abutments, north trail rockery and surfacing. Activities scheduled to occur during construction in 2022 include:

  • Constructing temporary embankments for railroad crossing and railroad bridge construction
  • Removal of 100-feet of embankment and 6-foot wide culvert
  • Beach grading
  • Installation of utilities including storm, electrical, water and irrigation
  • Finalizing estuary grading and removal of debris and fill materials, fabric, topsoils and planting installation
  • Park elements installation including benches, picnic table, portable restroom enclosure
  • Picnic shelter improvements
  • Interpretive signage

The project, which is estimated to cost approximately $15 million, has received more than $6.7 million in various federal and state grants, with the remainder of the money coming from Snohomish County. 

Until the park closes to the public on April 11, the following conditions are in effect:

  • Path to the beach is via a rough asphalt/gravel surface and the existing non-ADA accessible concrete culvert only (Note: Steel grates within culvert are not in place due to fish passage issues); All fenced areas or otherwise marked areas are closed to the public, including the picnic shelter.
  • ADA access road (75th Pl W) is open to vehicles and pedestrians with limited ADA parking available (four stalls).
  • Portable restrooms located at 156th St. trailhead and lower park beach access.

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